Morality In Shaping Macbeth's Identity

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Morality plays a large role in defining identity. Shakespeare uses Macbeth to question the impact of morality in shaping Macbeth’s identity. Shakespeare accomplishes this through defining Macbeth’s original character, expressing how Macbeth’s changes morally, and examining the effects of this moral change on Macbeth’s identity. Initially, Shakespeare accomplishes this through establishing an original state of morality for Macbeth. Subsequently, Shakespeare highlights the decay of Macbeth’s morality as the story progresses. Lastly, he enjoins the audience to question how Macbeth’s identity has changed because of morality. In short, Macbeth explores how morality shapes the identity of man. At first, the people around Macbeth perceive him as …show more content…

Ultimately, Macbeth’s actions answer the essential questions of Shakespearean tragedies, namely, “What is a man? Of what is he capable? What are his moral…limits?” (Ramsey 285). Illustrating his answer through Macbeth’s downfall, Shakespeare shows exactly what man can become without morals; specifically, Shakespeare asserts that the loss of morality causes damage that cannot be undone. In Macbeth’s case, he suffers the loss of his king, best friend, and wife, all of which cannot be reversed. As stated by Carr and Knapp, Shakespeare engages, “our most crucial values and beliefs” (837). Then, Shakespeare asks if these values ever genuinely existed within Macbeth’s moral code. In any case, Macbeth’s actions replace his former self with someone even he does not care to see, but he lacks the power to revert back to his former identity. In fact, Macbeth admits that he is “in blood stepped in so far” that covering up his crimes seems easier than admitting his wrongs (3.5.138). Because Macbeth’s crime governs his actions, the knives used to kill Duncan are the same knives that sever the ties to his former identity (Carr, Knapp 845). Therefore, Macbeth’s life begins to revolve around the murder of

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